09 May 2011

Ian Gawler blog: Parking backwards and other positive acts

Plus: Workshops in Victoria – Soon

The local shopping centre’s car park is quite a big one. It offers two basic choices. The parking bays are at right angles to the kerb, so you can drive into a parking bay forwards and reverse out to leave, or you can back in and drive out forwards.

So what, you may well ask? Well, here is a great opportunity to practice being positive.

Positivity is a state of mind. It is an attitude; a way of approaching life. We all have our own level of positivity; the combined result of an inherent gift and acquired circumstances. Some are full on optimistic and excuberant, others down in the dumps and expecting everything to turn to  ….!

We all have the capacity to decide to be positive if we choose to. It is “The Mind That Changes Everything” and we can change our level of positivity for the better – if we deem it necessary, decide to do it and train our minds.

Remember, positive thinking is not wishful thinking. Wishful thinking is where you hope for the best and do nothing about it. Positive thinking is where you hope for the best and do a lot about it.

Positive thinking is a state of mind. As such, of itself it achieves very little; except when it affects what we decide to do and influences how we do it. That changes everything.

So what about parking backwards? Every time you return to your car after parking backwards, it is ready to go forwards. You start not by going backwards, but by going forwards.

Starting forwards becomes a metaphor, a tangible affirmation of your positive state of mind. I began to do it over 35 yrs ago when I was very ill and continue in the habit. Yes, it is a habit now, but even so, every time I do it, it is a gentle reminder of my state of mind, and I smile.

What do you do that anchors your state of mind? What anchors your positivity, or have you other tricks to reinforce a state of mind? Maybe you have used affirmations effectively or have other ways of reminding yourself to be positive? Feel free to share your own techniques on the comments section below; maybe others can learn from your experience.


SHEPPARTON – Saturday 21st May 10am - 4pm

Health, Healing and Wellbeing

At Shepparton High School        Click here for Bookings

This day workshop offers a double benefit. Firstly, attend the workshop and hear the latest research along with my insights gathered from reflecting on 30yrs in this field.

Secondly, the event is a fundraiser to support Shep High students to travel overseas to work on a community aid project. This is a terrific initiative by the students and teachers, click here to read about their World Challenge.


Saturday 4th June:    The Mind That Changes Everything

Sunday 5th June:      Health. Healing and Wellbeing

Northcote Town Hall       Click here for Bookings.

The Mind That Changes Everything is a workshop I presented for the first time in Brisbane this April. Exploring how the mind works, explaining something of its complexity in simple terms and then considering how we might use it more effectively was a lot of fun, very interactive and quite serious, all at the same time. Good for business, relationships, sport, healing, wellbeing – the mind does change everything and while most of us it seems use only a fraction of its potential, it is a thrill to learn how to do more with it.

I really enjoy giving these workshops, so hope to see familiar faces and get to meet plenty of new people. So tell your family,friends and colleagues.

The Melbourne workshops are also fundraisers, for the Melbourne Rigpa Centre, Sogyal Rinpoche’s group in Melbourne.

NOTE:  These workshops will also be presented in Darwin, Bunbury and Perth in June/July. Click here for details: Workshops


BOOK:    The Mind That Changes Everything

CDs:        Mind Training

               Inner Peace, Inner Wisdom


  1. Hello Ian,
    Your title intrigued me. I used to live in HK and quickly learned to reverse park. Now it's my preferred method. A great metaphor for life - be ready, looking forward.
    If I'm feeling low, something that puts my problems into perspective is looking up at the stars in the night sky. We are so tiny, the universe is so vast. There is order and there is reason for everything.
    I just heard you are coming to Perth in July. Wonderful!

  2. It's so hard to really believe that we can decide our own state of mind. It is as if my entire education has told me to change my circumstances to change my state of mind. A life on the run.....But I am realising it is actually just skill that can be learnt.